The annual Pau Gasol trade rumor fest has taken a very interesting turn this season. According to a report by Comcast's Ric Bucher, when the Los Angeles Lakers signed Steve Nash this summer, they promised him that they would not trade Pau Gasol. From his Sulia post:
Source: Ignore any and all trade talk about Pau Gasol because the Lakers landed Steve Nash by promising him he would get to play with Gasol. Nash made it a prerequisite for passing on offers from Toronto and the Knicks that Pau would be around, the source said.
Such prerequisites from an incoming star aren't that unusual -- Chris Paul made similar personnel demands as part of his agreement to be dealt to the Clippers. (In Paul's case, he wanted assurance that LAC would do whatever was necessary to retain restricted FA DeAndre Jordan.)
Conceivably, once Nash gets back and actually plays with Gasol, the Lakers could continue to struggle and Nash re-thinks his position. But as of right now, one of the enticements that brought Nash to LA was the big Spaniard and the organization would have much bigger problems than they already have if they backtracked on their promise to keep Gasol in the fold.
Well, this is a little surprising because that seems like an odd promise to make. I think that it is interesting that Nash thinks highly enough of Gasol to make such a request prior to his acquisition. When you consider that and the way Kobe gloats about him (while also making some proper critiques, of course), you get an idea of how respected Gasol is amongst his peers.
That said, it is still entirely possible that the Lakers' don't get back on track even once Gasol and Nash are both healthy again, and at that point the Lakers, as Bucher mentions, may go back to Nash and ask him to reconsider. I'm not entirely sure why the Lakers would need Nash's blessing on such a decision, other than to keep him happy. I mean, he's 39 years old and he's locked in for another season after this, so making a move that may upset Nash shouldn't be too big of a concern if the move benefits the team.
The saga that is the Los Angeles Lakers never seems to have a dull moment. Right now, Dwight Howard is receiving an amount of fan backlash that he's never experienced (even during the final season of his soap opera in Orland), Kobe is lashing out in practice and calling out Gasol in the media, Pau is dealing with tendonitis in his knees, getting benched in the fourth and trade rumors and Nash's return is still not set in stone. All while the team slips out of the Western Conference playoff picture at the end of the first quarter of the season.
Let's all just pray that stability - and as a result, success - comes sometime soon.